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Hi there! Welcome to the J & J Blog. A place for pretty things and wedding tips.

Hi, I'm Sammy

4 Steps to Set and Stick to a Realistic Wedding Budget

Dec 12, 2018

realistic wedding budget

There’s your Trouble..

Like any newly engaged bride-to-be, you’ve probably spent countless hours scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram, drooling over the perfect California Vineyard and 5-Star NYC Hotel Weddings. I’m sure by now you’ve even purchased a wedding magazine that features the Top 5 Celebrity Weddings or the 20 Most Sought-after Wedding Gowns of 2018. And while these things are gorgeous and fun to look at, they can easily make a bride feel down in the dumps. 

Why? Because normal people cannot afford those weddings. 

Just from scrolling or flipping through high-dollar wedding images, we subconsciously (or consciously) set expectations for our own. Then, when you look up the price of that 5-course caterer you saw tagged in an Instagram post, your jaw immediately drops to the floor and your dreams are crushed. 

Looking at luxury weddings can make you feel like your dream wedding is unattainable. 

But I’m here to tell you, that’s just not true!

Your dream wedding can be created on a reasonable, realistic budget – you just have to have the right mindset and the right tools!

So today I want to walk you through 4 steps to setting and tracking your wedding spending with our Jackson & June Wedding Budget tools. If you stick around to the end, you’ll find the link that’ll lead you to them! I’ve also included a step-by-step tutorial to help you navigate the tools!

Grab your fianc√© and a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!

realistic wedding budget

Step 1: Researching the Magic Numbers

Weddings are truly like snowflakes, no two wedding budgets are going to be the exact same, but I want to give you an idea of what to expect when setting your budget. According to the results of The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of weddings in the US was $33,391 in 2017(including engagement ring, excluding honeymoon).

Now don’t let that number freak you out, that is just an average number, so there were couples who spent way more and way less than that in the group surveyed. What you spend is truly up to you.But looking at the average costs will help you know the following when setting your budget:

  1. What to expect and what number you want to target
  2. How each vendor will effect your overall budget
  3. If a vendor is quoting you an outrageous price
  4. Which vendors you want to splurge on and which ones you can do without

Average Cost per Vendor 

Now I want to break down the average cost per Vendor (according to The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study) compared to the cost of our vendors. I know this is unorthodox to share, but I really want to be transparent and for you to see that this is possible! 

average cost per wedding vendor

Step 2: Have hope and don’t be scared

Now that I’ve shared my personals….

I hope it gave you some hope, since we came in $13,000 under the national average. (Insert high-five) 

Since you have the first two steps of setting your wedding budget down (1. Researching the Magic Numbers 2. Having hope and not freaking out), we can move onto steps 3 and 4 : Setting and Tracking. 

If you’d like to skip the reading and learn about Steps 3 and 4 in video form, click here for a tutorial.

Step 3: Budget per Vendor

Once you’ve looked at the national averages, it is time to use our Wedding Budget Template Tool.

wedding budget template

This document will help you set your Projected Budget per Vendor (based on the national averages/what you want to spend), and track your Actual Vendor Costs, Due Dates, Contact Info, and Notes after you have your vendors lined up.

Having this document will help you keep your Projected Budget per Vendor in mind while hiring vendors. So if a vendor quotes you WAY over your projected budget, you’ll be able to decide if you’re going to splurge, or say “Thanks, but no thanks, I’m sticking to the budget!” 

Step 4: Tracking your Spending

Now that you’ve hired your vendors and it’s time to start making payments, you’ll want to track every wedding purchase. This sounds tedious, but it is so important to know where your money is going so that you don’t look down and realize you’ve already spent $50,000. We’ve made this step super easy with our Wedding Expense Tracking Tool.

Knowing where your wedding money goes will relieve stress and make you feel more confident when making your wedding purchases. It’ll also help you to know when you have extra funds so you can fit in small purchases (parent gifts, your jewelry, etc.) along the way. Spread the love- don’t wait until wedding week to make all of these purchases at once!

wedding budget
How you’ll look at each other when you’ve nailed down your budget! LOL

How to Use our Tools:

I know this was a lot to take in, but gaining control of your wedding spending from the start will help you stay on budget and relieve SO much stress. 

Now, if you have a few minutes to spare, I’d love to walk you through how to use both the Wedding Budget Template Tool and the Wedding Expense Tracking Tool in detail. This video will give you step-by-step instructions, and more budgeting tips and tricks! 

You can download both tools here! *best if used with Microsoft Excel*

Happy Wedding Planning!



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